The KLOOT Award
This past year, we received the sad news of the passing of Fred VanderKloot, '59. To honor this Recordzik (as those of the class of ’59 are called), Don Watson, Charlie Hoyt, and our Secretary, Waddy Wadsworth, all of the class of 1959, embarked on a campaign to create an award in his memory. After a successful fundraising campaign, The Yale Record Corporation established the KLOOT Award, its first named award since the Morrison Memorial Prize in 1920.
The KLOOT Award honors the memory of Frederic J. VanderKloot (1938-2014), Yale College Class of 1959. Fred was a member of The Record board, 1956-1959, and its Business Manager, 1958-1959. During those years, his combination of business acumen, imagination and levity was a major contributor to the success and high reputation of The Record, which was, and remains, one of the most respected college undergraduate publications. The award, represented by a certificate and cash stipend, will be given to a staff member of The Yale Record who has materially strengthened The Record’s standing in the Yale community through business management, drawings or other visual art, literature, or editorial skills. The Award is supported by an endowed fund established by donations directed for this purpose and managed by The Yale Record Corporation.
To celebrate the establishment of the award, Waddy, Don, and Charlie hosted a dinner for donors. Gary Clarke, '59, attended the dinner and shared the following remarks:
It was an evening of memory, celebration and promise. A bottle of Cutty Sark was on the bar, carnations—white and Yale blue—were nearby, and sixteen men and women, all but one associated with Yale’s class of ’59, were seated at the table. Hosted by Charlie Hoyt, Dyer Wadsworth and Don Watson, the dinner, at Waddy’s club, the Union Club in Manhattan, was to acknowledge the founding donors of the Kloot Award, which bears the name of our much esteemed, much missed Yale Record colleague, the late Frederic VanderKloot.
We all have our memories of Fred, but his widow, Mim, put them all together in just a few words that night. "One of the reasons I fell in love with Fred,” she said, “was that he thought I was funny. He'd laugh at my every quip, mot, and smartass remark. Later on I realized that it was not that Fred thought I was excruciating clever or excoriatingly witty; it was that Fred would laugh at anything.”
Laughter, of course, was what the evening was all about. Don Watson gave a brief history of the magazine we were all there to celebrate, The Yale Record, America’s oldest college humor magazine. Founded in 1872, The Record is six years older, in fact, than a more utilitarian publication on the Yale campus—“the Oldest College Daily,” as it likes to boast. Distinguished Record alumni include Peter Arno, Jim Stevenson, William Hamilton, Stephen Vincent Benét, Hillary Waugh, Courtland D.B. Bryan, Bob Grossman and Garry Trudeau—but there are also dozens of other outstanding talents.
While The Record struggled at times throughout the 70’s and 80’s, stability returned in 1989 when Michael Gerber, ’91, decided somber old Eli needed a smile or two. He plucked The Record from its long sleep, and with the help of like-minded students, puffed life and spirit back into it. As president of the Yale Record Corporation, Michael played wise uncle to some twenty years of Record classes and helped bring the magazine to its present lively state. A year ago Michael handed over his title to the very capable John Michael Thornton, ’09, who flew all the way from Palo Alto, California, to join us for dinner—the first, he hopes, of other Record dinners in other places. “I couldn't be more excited about the direction in which we’re heading,” he said.
I think we all share Mike Thornton’s hopes. Humor, real humor, doesn’t recognize the barriers of geography and age. It can amuse. It can also sting, and the powerful, the pompous and the fanatic can stand anything but being laughed at. We were all aware at our dinner that just a week earlier Muslim terrorists had murdered the staff of the French humor magazine Charlie Hebdo. Those who worked on Charlie Hebdo knew the power of humor. So did their murderers. So should we.
—Gary Clarke, '59, March 15, 2015